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The Star, No. 2, November 25, 1983
File 010
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The Star, No. 2, November 25, 1983 - File 010. 1983-11-25. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. March 3, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/678/show/674.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1983-11-25). The Star, No. 2, November 25, 1983 - File 010. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/678/show/674

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Star, No. 2, November 25, 1983 - File 010, 1983-11-25, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed March 3, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/678/show/674.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Star, No. 2, November 25, 1983
Contributor
  • Martinez, Ed
Date November 25, 1983
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 783846406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 010
Transcript Good Taste, and Why Not? Nov. 25,1983 / The Star 9 Commentary By Allen Young "Good taste" is supposedly a matter of special concern to gay men. When a gay man lacks good taste, whether in his clothes, his home decor, his conversation or his behavior, he is said to be "tasteless," a word that in today's gay banter has become a campy exclamation. (For some reason, all of this seems less relevant to gay women, which is why I refer ony to gay men here.) A friend of mine who writes for Fag Rag, one tasteless enough to burn a Bible at a Gay Pride rally, has on several occasions expressed his mockery and disdain for this gay male preoccupation. He see it, I believe, as a kind of faggot snootiness, an attempt by gay men to use esthetic values to find respectability in upper-middle- class heterosexual society. My friend's ifr'We-burning must be forgiven if only because it spurred much interesting discussion about religion's role in gay oppression. As for his condemnation of faggot You're Reading THE STAR America's Newest Gay Community Newspaper preoccupation with taste, I have been until recently quite sympathetic with his point of view. I am beginning to .distinguish, however, between good taste that is simply an honest appreciation of beauty, and a fashion-oriented concept of taste sometimes known as "piss-elegance." Piss-elegance is something I find irksome. The Queen's Vernacular (now published by Paragon Books as Gay Talk) defines a piss-elegant queen as "one equating wealth and style with real achievement; one who lives in sham elegance." (A second definition of the term says it is a "jealous reference to a rich homosexual.") Since coming out into the gay world, I have met a few gay men who could be described as "piss-elegant," and a few others who manifest a self-conscious preoccupation with taste, based on airs, manners and fashion.Such men are not likely to become my close friends. But I have also met some fine artists- men (and women, too) with a well- developed esthetic sense and a commitment to creativity. The gay friends and acquaintances have meant a lot to me. They have opened doors for me to realms previously unknown, and they have taught me something about good taste. I use that term in the most positive way. Twelve years ago, my main idea of something attractive to put up on a wall was a brightly colored Cuban poster showing fists and guns, supposedly to express solidarity with the people of a beleaguered Third World nation. In general, the idea of having attractive surroundings was then of little concern to me. That was before I was part ofthe gay community. If I were to list the things I have learned from my involvement in gay life, I would have to place at the top this newfound concern for beauty in my immediate surroundings. And why not? Our lives are enriched by beautiful things, both manmade and natural. This is one of my disagreements with the radical left, which focuses somuch on negativity. There is often no room for beauty in their world; they see most art as "politically incorrect," for according to them, we must always be aware of suffering and injustice. Frankly, I don't want to look at fists and guns anymore, neither in real life nor in posters on my wall. I feel sorry for the oppressed artists who are victimized by political commissars, whether they are movement ideologues or Communist party bureaucrats. For such commissars, art is "bourgeois" unless it "serves the interest of the working class," whatever that is. Some might claim that it is middle-class privilege that allows me this concern for beauty. But poverty and squalor are not synonymous. When I lived among the Zinacanteco Indians in southern Mexico, they manifested a strong desire for beauty and excellence in their colorful clothing. The Indian man I lived with, who was weaving a new staw hat for an upcoming festival, made it quite clear to me that he had "good taste" and also that he felt a certain disdain for men in the village who did not take the time and effort to make their hats beautiful. All of this is really by way of introduc tion, as I want to share with readers of this column my appreciation for the work and friendship of an artist I know, Gerard Brender a Brandis, whose wood engravings are among the decorative items in my home. Ger, a Canadian who lives and works in Ontario, is one of several artists I have met in the gay community. I was introduced to his work through RFD, the country gay journal, which published some of his engravings of rural architecture and plants. Shortly after, a feature article on him in Body Politic made me aware that his temperament and lifestyle were much similar to mine. Eventually we met, and we now have become friendB. We are now colla bores ting on two books, one on Cape Cod, another a collection of quotations, both to be published through Brand- stead Press. Brandstead Press is Ger's own creation and was established 11 years ago to produce limited editions of wood engravings and linocuts. It now has facilities to perform every stage of production of handmade books, from papermaking to binding. Ger's primary work has been botanical illustrations, but in recent years, he has sought to bring his gayness to his work, and the result has been two volumes of illustrated gay poetry. But, as Ger wrote me in a letter I excerpted for publication in Lavender Culture, overt gayness in art is not essential: "What is more important is to realize that the presence in my life of interpersonal realtion- ships nourish my entire being and spill over into my creative processes, just as my creative vitality makes me more capable of contributing to another man's life." Ger's work has won him significant recognition; it is included in may public galleries and university and library collections, as well as in numerous private collections. His dedication to his craft is inspiring: imagine working a book from start to finish, including weaving the cloth for the cover, making the paper, engraving the illustrations, handselling type and operating the printing press! Yet, for all his success, Ger does all he can to keep from being "sucked into the suburban, commercialized and consumerized— too much a part of the trendy gay scene, too much a businessman." He writes, "My life and lifestyle appear too often relevant, and yet there is no real alternative on this planet." These are my feelings, for when I leave the typewriter today, I will go into the garden to plant carrots and eggplant, spend some time in puttering around the house to make it more pleasing to me, and a little later, go to the bus station to pick up an old friend whom I haven't seen in years. These pleasures—the manmade beauty in my home, the natural beauty of the plants in the garden, both the functional beauty of vegetables and the "pure" beauty of flowers, and the love of friends in the gay community whom I have come to cherish so much—help make life rich and worthwhile. I refuse to rob myself of these pleasures just because I know that there is pain and suffering elsewhere in the world. My appreciation for beauty does not undermine a desire and hope for a better world; in fact, the two are inextricable. ®1983 by Allen Young, author of several books, including "Gays Under the Cuban Revolution"and "Lavender Culture."Distributed by Stonewall Features Syndicate. Store Owners Are you a STAR distribution point? If not, become one. There's no charge and you'll find it will bring people into your business. To be a distribution point, we require you to place the newspaper in a lighted, easily-accessible location, and be able to distribute at least 25 copies each issue. (Some locations go through 400 to 500 copies each issue.) Your location will be printed in the paper each issue. •« HAIR LOSS? rm losing my hair and no one knows it "I didn't like the way I looked whei my hair was falling out Then I found out about the HRS Systems Process of hair replacement. It added hair into my bald spots and made my thinning areas thick MffiRICWMttE By Brackenridge Park. 3438 N. St. Mary's San Antonio 78212—(512) 736-9678 We Serve The new Central Texas gay publication. Every Other Week, we inform and entertain thousands in Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Look for THE STAR every other Friday at your favorite club, shop or store.
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